The Coalition of players refusing to resume the NBA season, notably led by Avery Bradley (Lakers), urged the league, franchise owners and sponsors on Tuesday to take concrete action against social injustice.
In a message sent to ESPN, this group of about 80 players formed last week at the initiative of Brooklyn star Kyrie Irving, established their priorities. They notably ask for the improvement of hiring practices for black candidates for leadership and coaching positions, so that the management of the league in this area better reflects its composition of predominantly black players.
The NBA currently has eight black general managers, four of whom are in charge of basketball operations, seven black coaches and a president, Masai Ujiri, who heads the defending champions Toronto Raptors.
The refractory players also demand that donations be made to organizations serving the African-American community, as well as partnerships with black entrepreneurs.
Asked by ESPN, Bradley expressed support for players wishing to take advantage of the exposure offered by the resumption of the championship in Orlando to talk about the problems of systemic racism. But he felt that practical initiatives would have more impact, especially with "help from the owners".
"Whatever the media coverage, speaking and raising awareness against social injustice is not enough," he told the sports channel. "We don't need to say more. We have to find a way to do more. Protesting for a hymn, wearing t-shirts is great, but we have to see real actions taken. ”
Monday, the boss of the league Adam Silver agreed that "the resumption of the season may not be for everyone", therefore leaving the choice to everyone to take part or not, without penalty at the end for refractory.
Bradley also pointed out that donations to black communities fall "disproportionately to the players" and said he hoped more owners would follow the example of generosity from Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets) and Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks) after George's death Floyd on May 26.
"I agree. Replaying in Orlando will allow players to receive checks that will help their community, "said Bradley. "But why is it all their responsibility?"
"Refusing to play does not directly combat systemic racism," he agreed. "But it highlights the fact that without black athletes, the NBA would not be what it is today. The league has a duty to our communities in helping us to become self-reliant, just as we have made the NBA brand strong. ”
He finally pointed out that if the NBA had planned an action, no proposal in this direction was clearly communicated to the players. “Don't put all the weight on your players to fix the problem. If you care about us, you cannot remain silent and withdrawn ”.